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Students at Cathedral of the Risen Christ school have read the Lincoln police their rights and now it’s time for the officers to fess up.

How much, officers, have you read this week?

Cathedral students have upped their reading challenge ante this year, throwing down the gauntlet to the Lincoln Police Department to see who can read the most pages: students or cops.

LPD agreed to the challenge pitting officers (and anyone else in the department who’s game) against students (and anyone else at school who’s up for some healthy competition and a good read).

Each week, the pages read will be tallied for each side, which will, undoubtedly, be keeping track.

On Oct. 1, a winner will emerge and the top readers on each side will be the recipients of a cool prize (it’s a secret, kids, a sealed document, officers).

Erin Trummer, the school’s development director, is behind the challenge, her way of generating a little excitement about reading, and encouraging her students to keep their noses in books. Or their ears on audio books. Or their heads on the shoulders of parents or grandparents reading to them.

Just how students read doesn’t matter to Trummer, nor does their skill level. She’s intent on sparking a love of the written word that will last well beyond childhood. 

“Really, what we want to do is get kids hooked on reading, but also, just to kind of take it to the next level — it’s not just a school thing, reading will be with you for the rest of your life,” she said.

Even if you end up becoming a police officer.

Last year, she challenged students to read a combined total of 350,000 minutes and the competition aspect proved to be a good motivator.

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“It was a huge success. I didn’t want to repeat the same thing over again, I wanted something fresh.”

Trummer said she’s invited Lincoln police to come to the school for other events, including “coffee with cops,” a cookie-decorating-then-eating event at after-school programs.

She broached the competition idea to Officer Luke Bonkiewicz, whose daughter attends the school, then enlisted him and other officers to help run monthly book discussions.

Trummer sees another advantage to this challenge: helping students see officers in a positive light.

She hopes for positive banter between the competitors and lots of selfies posted on social media of kids and cops with books in their hands.  

“I think it’s really going to boost the idea that reading really can be fun,” she said.

The first-week reading totals haven’t been finalized yet, but Trummer said she's seen lots of 200-300 page tallies, a staffer who hit nearly 700, and a class that totaled 1,463 pages.

No word yet on how officers are doing, although Chief Jeff Bliemiester responded to an inquiry about his contribution to the cause.

Week one: 234 pages of newspaper articles, investigative reports and a book about the emotional survival of law enforcement.

All very useful, chief, and we appreciate that you're reading the newspaper.

But is it possible you’ve missed the “fun” part of the challenge?

Reach the writer at 402-473-7226 or mreist@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSreist.

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Education reporter

Margaret Reist is a Lincoln native, the mom of three high school graduates now navigating college and an education junkie who covers students, teachers and policymakers inside and outside the K-12 classroom.

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